This time last week I was getting ready to head to Cardiff for my first Half Marathon and was completely and utterly bricking it. Even though it’s taken a week for me to find time to update this blog I did survive, and better still (with a little dose of hindsight) I think I enjoyed it. I completed the course in 2hrs 14mins which I was truly delighted with as I’d not trained enough and thought it would take me much longer.
So I was happily floating around on a bubble of self-congratulatory delight all week, until someone came along with a big fat pin and burst it. It turns out that the race organisers had to re-route the course and it was 0.12miles short of the 13.1miles it should have been. They issued a statement of apology and have been taking some serious flack about it. I was gutted at first but then thought actually this is probably quite unique, how many people get to say they ran an official almost half-marathon, who knows maybe it’ll take off. Either way I suspect in the fullness of time it might bug me enough to motivate me to do it again, or find another course and try to run an actual half marathon.
A while ago I talked about how difficult it is to support people in these situations. However this weekend I realised even more how important those supporters are, and if done well, how much they can contribute to your own success. First up has to be @fergusbisset who had an unfailing belief in my ability to haul myself around that course, we had run together a few times and I felt that he would have a good enough idea but I’m still not sure I really believed it myself until I crossed the finish line…he was like a virtual monkey on my shoulder all the way round though. As in most areas of life it is much easier to believe in your own ability if someone else believe’s it too. I also am completely indebted to @amcunningham and her husband Chris, who provided dinner, company, wit, debate and a 150% distraction the night before – it was a real shame that there was a run to be done as we had to break the fun up shortly after midnight! I’d never met Anne Marie in real life before and her generosity and humour and fun spirit was also with me around that course….together with the threat that she might be stood at the side with a camera! I should also thank @ekennedy229 who was the original inspiration and who I cursed routinely throughout the 13miles.
I’d also like to thank all the random strangers along the route. If anyone is interested in running a half-marathon then I’d definitely recommend Cardiff – Welsh people are so completely and utterly genuine (sweeping statement alert I know), there were old people standing clapping in their bedroom windows; kids with brilliant banners – one of my favourites was ‘not far to go now mummy and then you can make us our dinner’ at about 9miles, but there were lots along the way; an old guy stood on the street corner waving his stick (I did wonder whether he was waving in fury because he wanted to cross the road but I don’t think so); lots of smiley Policemen; and lots of people lining the route who were obviously there to support an individual but who clapped and encouraged so many of us. I’ve supported a few people at different races and I often feel a little self-conscious as I utter words of encouragement at random strangers – never again, it made such a difference to me and I will now proudly utter encouragements at anyone who is putting themselves through their paces.
So there we have it, I’ve completed my first Not Quite Half Marathon and haven’t been put off for life. More to the point I’d definitely recommend it to each and every one of you 🙂